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By Ken Sinclair
How does the building automation industry make the transformation that it needs to undergo? This "Getting There from Here" discussion deals with the shift in thinking and action that we all must make to deal with the rapid change that is upon us.Our August Autonomous Actions on the Intelligent Edge discussions in addition to our theme for AHRExpo Chicago education sessions, “The Future of Building Automation — Data at the Open Intelligent Edge" have identified an immediate problem in our industry of how the transformation we all must make will occur. In this thought provoking podcast with Ken and Eric of Control Trends, we start the shift of thought discussion. This link goes directly to the podcast — the only image is the podcast controls — so you will have to turn up your volume. Please jump in at the 11.5 to 52-minute mark and share your thoughts directly with me, or on social media, or come to our education sessions in Chicago. Our smart building automation industry needs to follow the auto industry in reinventing ourselves to look and think like the self-learning software companies we are morphing into. Who will become the new building data architects and the virtual building software companies of our future?How will we create value from our new-found data and bring it back to the hive to discover new ways of providing comfort, health, and satisfaction in our buildings?One very positive part of our transformation is that the new feedstock of people assets "the new kids on the block" who are coming into our industry are creators and makers and very well understand IoT views plus the importance of open and standards. In addition, they dislike our propitiatory approaches and reside on the opposite side of transformation urging us to change our ways. This positive force makes us think younger, differently, about how we will grow people powered self-driving buildings from the intelligent self-learning self-acting edge. This article has a wake-up call, "BACnet has a lot of beneficial aspects that are absolutely relevant, but so was the video cassette before Netflix." This is the article: So you think you know the future of IoT? “IoT WILL have an overwhelming impact on the Building Automation controls industry and you should know more about it,” says Hector Hernandez, CEO, Founder CUBE-USA, and author of the article.We have much to learn from the evolving self-driving autonomous cars and how can we make our buildings more self-driving and improve our client/customer experience with continuous connection starting at the edge and moving the bit of intelligences, intelligently.It is all about a data strategy what to and how to collect data at the open intelligent edge.What kind of transformation are we talking about? Ponder this from Tom Goodwin:Uber: The world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles.Facebook: The world’s most popular media owner, creates no content.Alibaba: The most valuable retailer, has no inventory.AirBnB: The world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate.This article provides further insight: Data is eating the software that is eating the world. "The data-driven machine learning algorithms that power AI will not only upend programming, but lower the barriers to AI itself."A key thought: "it has become clear to everyone, especially the old-school disruptors cited by Andreessen, that 'software,' as it’s normally understood, is not the secret to future success. Going forward, the agent of disruption will be the data-driven ML (machine learning) algorithms that power AI. In this new era, more of the logic that powers intelligent applications won’t be explicitly programmed. The days of predominantly declarative, deterministic, and rules-based application development are fast drawing to a close. Instead, the probabilistic logic at the heart of chatbots, recommendation engines, self-driving vehicles, and other AI-powered applications is being harvested directly from source data.'Consider this article, Legacy technology – an enabler to digital transformation, not a barrier: “This engagement often uncovers information that can not only inform a transformative approach, but enhance and accelerate progress by avoiding the re-invention of the proverbial wheels.“There are many organisations that have successfully harnessed the power of legacy systems and delivered the content or processing power of these through fresh, modern interfaces or mobile apps to their customers.”In this review, The Evolution of the Master System Integrator (MSI), we learn more about the new/old reinvented kids on the block.There are lots of fancy names for this work, but I would say we really are just helping clients make the best choices on the many diverse technology options they have for buildings and helping them implement these solutions with high levels of performance. Consulting, MSI, engineering ... they are all just value-added services from a trusted adviser.“There is no technology or service that should be a priority for smart building designers, the real value (benefit) comes from the cumulative effect of the 20 or 50 or 100 different solutions that are integrated into the smart system that is the building” — Ken Dooley, Senior Specialist — Digitalisation Granlund.Yet we want MSI to be more or evolve more new identities such as building data architects? Master data integrators? Data engineers? Data gods? Definers of the edge and the middle and cloud? This article talks about the evolving roles of data engineers, The Wouda, Couda, and OODA of Building Performance Data Engineering: “As part of the Project Haystack open-source community, I’m learning that small can equal big, and less can be more, and that ‘big data’ engineers and ‘building performance data engineers’ have important but different roles in the coming era of the IoT and machine learning” — Therese Sullivan, Building Context Ltd.Cory Vanderpool embraces the shift of thought: “Cardinal IoT is built on Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) open platform. The solution includes three critical ‘things,’ the first of which starts with the end devices, which in this case are wireless, self powered sensors that exist at the ‘edge.’”Companies mashup to provide new services. “Our technologies are very complementary, where the CogniPoint monitors the building’s space and provides real-time data about its occupants’ whereabouts and their count. This data is used by Mapiq’s space management and utilization software to deliver real-time building intelligence that allows organizations to improve operations and workplace efficiency” — Itmar Roth, PointGrab and Sander Schutte, Mapiq.I believe we need to recreate ourselves and do what we never imagined set a path for the shift of thought and action we all need to make. Master system integrator and data engineers will hurry the transformation that it needs to occur in the "getting there from here."Next June I am off to Helsinki to be part of and find more about the Nordic Smart Building Convention 2018. From the website: “In 2018 Buildings have changed. Humans and buildings have become a well-oiled machine. ID-tagged humans carry ID-tagged devices, use ID-tagged clothing. Behavior control, information control, emotion control, building control … everything is monitored and kept under control. When the building is under total control, choice becomes routine. Nordic Smart Building Convention 2018 is coming and will lead the reconstruction revolution.”Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.